An exciting little parcel recently arrived for me. It was full of some of my favourite things. Not diamonds or wine but herbs and spices! These neat little packages of herbs and spices are from a company called Gourmet Garden. Hailing from Australia just like this company I recall my Mum always having some basil in the fridge and I can’t believe I’ve lived without them until now. Gone are the days of wasting herbs or freezing them! I’ve been experimenting with them and here are some of my favourite recipes. Enjoy!
250gm sliced chicken
5 spring onions sliced
1 red pepper sliced
2 rolls of Soba noodles
1 litre of chicken stock
5 mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, button)
Pinch of seaweed
2 tspn gourmet garden thai spice
1/2 tsp gourmet garden chilli
1/2 tsp gourmet garden ginger
2 tsp gourmet garden coriander
Fry off the onion in a little water with the lid on for 5 minutes, add the chicken and a dash of oil, fry until nearly cooked. Add the gourmet garden thai spice, gourmet garden ginger and gourmet garden chilli frying on a low heat to allow the flavours to permeate the chicken. Add the vegetables (try some green veg towards the end of cooking if you like) and stock. Add the Simmer with a lid on for 15 mins. Add the gourmet garden coriander at the end of cooking time.
Meanwhile cook the Soba noodles and place in bowls.
Serve piping hot.
Serves 2-4 adults/children.
I call this Medicine Soup as it is a clear broth base so is rehydrating and waistline friendly. I believe that chicken soup is healing following illness or just as a general be-kind-to-yourself meal. The herbs and spices have wonderful actions. The chilli stimulates circulation and increases metabolism and fat burning, the ginger and coriander soothe the stomach, while the lemongrass in the thai spices is said to relieve colds and coughs. Seaweed – high in flavour and minerals as well as flavour with a lot less sodium than salt. 0.5% Sodium whereas Salt has 38% sodium. Shiitake mushrooms are super immune boosters and high in vitamins B6 & B12 – great for those with pernicious anaemia. This soup is my fail-safe remedy when I’m feeling low, have a cold or a hangover. I am delighted it works so well with the Gourmet Garden products.
1 butternut squash chopped
1 litre of vegetable stock
2 tspn gourmet garden chilli
Fry off the onion in a little water with the lid on for 5 minutes. Add the other ingredients. I use a heavy-based dish on a low heat for 20 mins. This gives the soup depth of flavour as opposed to a thinner pan which cooks it faster but if you are in a hurry this can be made in 10 mins. I added the chili at the end of cooking as my 9 month old prefers it without 🙂
Serves 6-8 adults/children.
Butternut Squash is full of antioxidants, fibre and beta carotene. One serve of soup provides half your daily needs of beta carotene and lutein benefiting your skin, mucus membranes and eye health. It is rich in B vitamins to stave off winter depression and stress. The chilli stimulates circulation and increases metabolism and fat burning.
500 gm flour – I use 250gm white : 250gm wholemeal
1 sachet bread yeast
250ml tepid water
Slug of olive or rapeseed oil
3 tspn sun dried tomato pesto
2 tspn gourmet garden basil
2 tbspn grated parmesan cheese
Combine the flour, yeast, water, salt and oil. Knead the dough on a floured work surface. Add the sun dried tomato pesto, basil, parmesan cheese and knead it through the bread. Place dough in a deep round bowl, cover with cling film and store for 3 hours or so in a hot room (I used the airing cupboard). Remove from bowl, place on a baking tray in a hot oven at 200 degrees for 40 mins.
Serve hot with above soup or with some yummy olives.
Basil is known as an anitoxidant and also has antibacterial properties. It has been shown to inhibit pathogenic bacteria, such as Staphylococcus, that is resistant to antibiotics (antibiotic bread anyone?!). The wholemeal flour is higher in fibre that white flour and this bread has no preservatives in it. Which means it wont last as long as your shop bought loaves but it will taste ALOT better.
I also made the following but they got eaten too quickly to take photos 🙂
Disclaimer: these products were provided free of charge.